Oil, heartbreak, and isolation -- a look inside the mental health crisis of Alberta's oil workers.
Digging in the Dirt will be a 20-minute documentary exploring the current mental health crisis in Alberta’s oil industry with compassion, depth and brutal honesty. Building on “Oil, Heartbreak, and Manhood,” an award-winning investigative feature for BuzzFeed News by co-director Omar Mouallem, the documentary will delve further into the lives of oilfield workers struggling with depression, isolation and addiction, and family members grieving from their suicides.
The 3 of us have years of experience and a profound passion for telling these kinds of Albertan stories. We will approach the subject matter with compassion, curiosity, and a desire not just to communicate information, but to create art.
Photographically emphasize the alien structures of oil refineries (they always feel like something out of BLADE RUNNER to me!)
The best resource for referencing how to photograph bizarre man-made environments!
As outlined briefly in the pitch document, we want to photograph the environments as much as possible and allow the audience to imagine what life is like here. You can see how it looks like another planet, something out of science fiction.
I love the style of Wim Wenders' documentary PINA -- instead of conventional "talking head," they filmed portrait shots of the subjects looking into the camera, and you hear their VO instead of watching them talk to someone. We'll do something similar with our interview subjects for DIGGING IN THE DIRT.
Though much of the subject matter of DIGGING IN THE DIRT is heavy, we want to include imagery that showcases the beauty of our prairie home and suggests hope for a healthier, more holistic future. There's no better reference for this kind of imagery than Terrence Malick's body of work.